Thursday, January 31, 2008






  Boe’s Cafe remembered
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–It was just a group of friends, 200 or so, talking over old times and remembering the fun of growing up in a small town called Mabank.
They recalled eating and socializing at Boe’s Cafe, a popular establishment which opened in 1942 and served the city for 16 years until 1958.
Some time after it closed, Dick Bramblitt, the cafe owners’ son started an e-mail club called by the same name to keep friends in touch, who recalled the old cafe with fondness.
He had a lot of e-mails from friends that enjoyed the “Boe’s Cafe” club with many suggestions to get together someplace and meet each other.
Well that’s just what he and his wife, Martha, did. With little advance warning and even less planning, the group met for the usual fun, food and fellowship.
The reunion took place Saturday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Station.
“(Boe’s Cafe) was located at first on the south side of the ‘old picture show,’ The Matex, up by Tri-County Ford, then it moved to the old Hydrangea house location,” Bramblitt said.
Dick, one of seven children, said he was 3 years old when his parents, Boe and Rena Bramblitt, opened the cafe.
“Mrs. Boe was the heart of the business. She was known for her customer’s favorites, her greasy hamburgers and chicken fried steak. People still talk about them,” he said.
A school kid could go into the cafe and get a 15-cent hamburger and a 5-cent coke.
“Mom and Dad kept a ledger for the school kids and at the end of the year, parents would come in and settle up. No kid ever left Boe’s Cafe hungry,” Bramblitt recalled.
Adults enjoyed the meals too, but mostly the atmosphere.
“A lot of times, people came in just to visit and to enjoy a 5- cent cup of coffee,” he said, adding with a little visiting and a lot of fill ups that nickel could go a long way.
The purpose of the reunion was to renew old friendships, make new friends and to reminisce about growing up and old times, Bramblitt said.
The 200 plus visitors gave about $1,010 to the Mabank Fire Station.
Bramblitt had written a book on growing up in a small town and although it sold out, he copied it onto DVDs, and made copies of it.
The sales of the DVDs earned $160 for Mabank Oaklawn Cemetery.
E-mails have already been coming in bragging about how much the visitors enjoyed the meeting.
“Bless you for all the work you and Martha did. Thanks for the memories. It was enjoyed by all. Better than any homecoming at school.” Joyce McKee e-mailed.
“I think having an annual Boe’s Cafe reunion is a great idea. The young people need to know about our history. I think this could grow into something big!!” Cozell and Stella McAfee e-mailed.
“Dear Dick: Sanford and I enjoyed so much seeing some of the ‘old gang’ and reminiscing about the past. We loved it and thank you for organizing the reunion,” Charlotte (Darden) Reed and Sanford Reed wrote.
“Dick, Wowweeee! What a Party! Thank you so much for all the effort. I met so many of the friends on Boe’s Cafe. I even met a distant relative, and he didn’t even know we were related. Was he surprised. We think you should plan another one in the near future,” Billie Kerbo e-mailed.
“It was awesome, but passionately incomplete. We hugged but couldn’t get back for a second. We said hi and bye almost in the same breath. Thanks to the Bramblitt family and all other ‘E-Boeites” who made this one-of-a-kind event possible. A new pressed flower has been placed in my memory book,” Mary Lou Blount wrote.
The event was so successful, another reunion is being set up for some time in late May, Bramblitt said.
“Folks, I’ve been thinking about all 200 or so of you,” Bramblitt responded to all the e-mails. “I had a good visit off and on but it was way to short. A quick hello, a handshake or hug. It’s killing me that I did not get to spend more time with each of you.”


Sweet stories sought
Special to The Monitor
CEDAR CREEK LAKE– The Monitor is seeking your stories about people you love most.
Your sweetheart stories will be published on Valentine’s Day, Thursday Feb. 14.
Include a photograph of your loved one, or of the two of you together along with your story.
All submissions should include the writer’s name and phone number where you can be reached and be delivered to The Monitor no later than Friday, Feb. 8.
Stories should be composed of no more than 800 well-chosen words. All copy is subject to editing for clarity, grammar, conciseness and style.
The Monitor reserves the right not to publish any stories it deems inappropriate.
Submissions may be made via e-mail to  Digital photos may be sent by e-mail as large jpeg or tif files. Submissions may also be carried or mailed to The Monitor, 1316 S. Third St., Mabank, 75147. It is located at the back of Groom & Sons’ parking lot.


Copper thieves hit station and church
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

RODDY–Mabank water utility workers were hopping early Friday morning – picking up the pieces after copper thieves stripped wiring from the city’s Roddy water pumping station.
Workers had to switch water service over to the Whitehouse pump station. Had there been an emergency, such as a fire or water main break, nearly 400 customers would have been without water when they woke up, Mabank public works director Ronnie Tuttle told The Monitor.
A call received from a Roddy pump station neighbor reported hearing the electrical generator kick in about 2:15 a.m., Tuttle said.
“That’s when they cut the wires,” Tuttle said.
When a work crew arrived, it found the water tanks overflowing.
“When they took the wires, they disconnected all the controls, so even though the generator kicked on, it couldn’t instruct the pump,” Tuttle explained.
Trinity Valley Electric Co-op was called to disconnect the power lines, while an electrician from Terrell dropped everything to restore operations.
The Roddy pump station was fully restored by 3 p.m. Friday.
While in the neighborhood, copper thieves also hit the Elm Grove Church.
The building’s power junction box was stripped, and wire that ran under the ground to a nearby power pole had been pulled up and cut.
A funeral service scheduled for Saturday had to be moved to another location. Church services and planned youth activities that weekend were cancelled for lack of heat and light.
Church officials estimate the value of the copper wire at about $50, while the cost to repair the damage and restore power for lighting and heating is close to $1,000.
Van Zandt Constable C. B. Wiley and Mabank police Capt. Lee Orr conducted the investigation into both incidents.
Tuttle estimates the cost to get the pump station back into operations was $1,800 for the electrician and materials, not counting the extra man hours needed to maintain water service.
“If we had had a fire or a main break, we would have been without water,” he said.


County plans to buy Vietnam Wall memorial
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KAUFMAN–Plans are underway to create a permanent Vietnam Memorial at the Kaufman County Veterans Memorial Park.
Monday, Kaufman County Commissioners granted discretionary exemption to purchase the 80 percent Vietnam Traveling Wall at a total cost of $250,000.
A committee consisting of Johnny Countryman, Lee Ayers, Ray Raymond, Anne Glassock and County Judge Wayne Gent, said they believed enough contributions could be collected so that in the end the county would not have to pay out anything on the monument.
However, the owner is requesting $50,000 be paid at the signing of the contract.
Bickerstaff law firm attorney Tom Pollen said the county must be the owner of the Wall, and it will be, Gent said.
“The economic benefits to both the city of Kaufman and the county will be tremendous, if the wall is located here on permanent display,” Gent, a Vietnam veteran, said.
Also included are plans for a small building to house computers for access to names that relatives or friends need to look up.
In other business, commissioners:
• were reminded this week is the 40th anniversary of the Tet offensive in Vietnam.
• accepted the tax assessor/collector’s monthly report for December as presented by Richard Murphy.
• accepted treasurer Johnny Countryman’s monthly report for December, quarterly report from Oct. 31 through Dec. 31 and the investment report ending Dec. 31.
• accepted the racial profiling report from Precinct 3.
Constable Lowry Sanders said there were no “write-ups” against his department.
• approved the purchase of two dump trucks through the buy-board contract for Precinct 3.
The total cost for each truck would be $96,815. The trucks will replace two older trucks the board is buying back at a cost of $86,000, purchasing agent Jack Sabastian said.
• approved road repair for the town of Talty per interlocal agreement.
“Talty currently has no one to work on its roads, and as long as it doesn’t interfere with our normal work, we will do it,” Precinct 2 Commissioner Ray Clark said.
• accepted the maintenance bond for High Pointe Estates, Phase Two, and released its construction bond.
•approved a request from Embarq to install buried communications drop wire on the right-of-way of CR 4023, Precinct 4.
• approved budget transfers as presented by auditor Hal D. Jones.
• paid bills totaling $241,402.69.

Malakoff ISD calls $7M bond election
By Michael V. Hannigan
Monitor Staff Writer

MALAKOFF–The Malakoff Inependent School District trustees called for a $7 million bond election Monday. It will be held at the same time as the school board election May 10.
If voter approve the bond, the money will fund a 10-year plan for considerable work to the high school and the middle school, as well as establish a replacement plan for the district’s buses and technology (computers, etc.).
This will be no ordinary bond election for two reasons:
• First, and most importantly, officials say the bond will not raise taxes.
In fact, according to Superintendent Dr. John Spies, the bond will help the district keep more taxpayer money here in Malakoff.
• Secondly, the district is going to take a “wait-and- see” approach to selling the bonds.
The secret to this bond proposal is Malakoff’s status as a Chapter 41 school – that and the Nurturing Nickel.
Dealing with the state
To understand the bond proposal, you must first know a little bit about how Texas school finance works.
Under the state’s finance plan, money from property rich districts, called Chapter 41 schools, is redistributed to poorer school districts. Malakoff has been categorized as a Chapter 41 district for several years and annually sends revenue back to the state in the form of “recapture.”
How much money is sent back varies, because the state continually changes the formula. However, Spies estimates the district sends back 20 to 25 percent of its recapture-eligible funds.
However, not all of the district’s money is eligible for recapture.
The rate MISD taxpayers pay each year is a combination of two funds: the Maintenance and Operations (M&O) – which is used for everyday expenditures – and the Interest and Sinking (I&S) – which is used to pay the district’s bond debt.
I&S money, or bond debt, is not counted when the state decides how much money Malakoff has to send back.
The nurturing nickel
To take advantage of the I&S rule, Spies proposed moving five cents from the M&O fund tax rate to the I&S fund. By doing this, he said, the rate taxpayers pay will not change, but the district can keep an extra $100,000 to $150,000 of the money collected.
So what does all this have to do with !a bond issue?
Well, I&S funds can only be used to pay for bonds. The five cents of the tax rate will pay for the proposed bond – and will save the district more than $1 million of its own money (that’s $100,000-plus not going back to the state multiplied by 10 years).
“That’s like getting two free buses every year,” Spies said.
In the meantime, rising property values and enrollment will allow the district to continue on with five cents less in the M&O fund.
That’s how school officials get a $7 million bond without raising taxes.
The nickel could go even further. By leaving it in I&S, as opposed to drawing it down as the bonds are paid off, the school district could issue bonds again in 10 years and have money for ongoing improvements.
“Almost like an endowment,” Spies said.
Wait and see
The only slight hold up in the plan for local school officials is the state.
One of the keys – at least for the first year of the bond proposal – is knowing where the district will stand in M&O.
The state, however, is still working on the funding formulas, and it is likely Malakoff will not know exact figures until late August or September.
Spies told trustees his confidence in the estimated figures for next year is “at the 90 percent level instead of the 100 percent level.”
He said trustees could wait a year to call for the bond.
Trustees didn’t want to wait, however, because they didn’t want to lose more money to the state.
“I hate sending money back,” said board president Todd LaRue. “That’s the only reason not to wait.”
Trustee Belinda Brownlow suggested holding the election in May, but not selling the bonds until later.
Spies agreed that was an option. By doing that, the district could make sure next year’s M&O was where it needed to be and save recapture money.
“It’s a $100,000 benefit to do it in May and make adjustments in August,” said Trustee Clyde Tinsley.
Trustees voted unanimously to call the bond election.